Archive for April, 2012

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White House Correspondents Dinner

30/04/2012

So this weekend contained one of my favourite political moments of the year, the White House Correspondents dinner. This is, for any non-american person, a bit of a comedy dinner done by the president. This year’s one was as good as any before. Obama stood up after a quick gag with a pretend mess up over leaving his mic on, and proceeded to do what is always done, executing a well done speech.

I like this event because it reminds us of a lot of things. That presidents are human, that they are good at communicating both comidicxaly and politically, and that it is never inappropriate to make jokes about putting dogs on car roofs. (watch the video and that will make more sense.)

So whether you watch it or not, just remember when you are thinking about politics, there is
more to it than the stuffy old men in overgrand rooms.

~Sean

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Science For All

30/04/2012

At a dinner party recently, in conversation with a journalist, a lecturer in political-economy and the former managing-editor of Nature*, our focus organically shifted to Ireland’s bogs. Not the most stimulating of topics, granted, but one of pressing importance in today’s economy, with powerful repercussions on business, environmentalism and tourism. We soon realised, that of the four of us, I knew something about the distinction between two different types of bogs and the said editor had a notion that legally, only one of them could be exploited for fuel.

From this curious niche of ignorance, we, perhaps arrogantly, extrapolated that there was a general ignorance of the topic in society as a whole. There are a number of issues that will inevitably come to the Irish legislature in the near future and often cause them to choose between the economy, the polity, society and the environment. Also inevitable, will be the public outcry against any one of these decisions. Already, we have seen aggressive opposition to fracking, tapping the Shannon for its waters, huge batteries in the form of salt-water mountain reservoirs, GM foods and extraction and transportation of the Island’s fossil fuel supplies as well as the erection of wind turbines. There is no shortage of critics to these measures but how many of them have actually considered all the viewpoints and come up with a pragmatic solution to how Ireland should obtain its resources and meet its energy requirements? Should there be stricter fishing laws, should we mine the silver in Croagh Patrick, should we build the nation’s first nuclear power plant? These are all questions that are going to have to be asked and debated nationally.

The obvious problem here is education, or more appropriately, a lack of it. The problem can be dissected at any level, not just in terms of public understanding of energy requirements, that most vapid and dry of topics. How many Leaving Certificate students, for instance, would be able to tell you, after a six year course in mathematics, that the basic observation that all maths is based on, is the realisation that there is an inherent correspondence between two apples and two oranges? More frightening still, how many bachelors of science could write a basic essay on the history or philosophy of their subject, after studying it for four plus years at university level?

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Green Day may Release a Video on YouTube

29/04/2012

The Vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green) have been part of the YouTube community for a long time.  There are many who only know the Vlogbrothers are prominent YouTubers and not much more.  Sure its hard to not know that John also writes books and Hank also writes music but I find most of the people who know of them associate them with YouTube first.

Felcia Day has skyrocketed to be one of the leading ladies of geek culture.  With her work on The Guild, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, and lots of other projects around popular TV shows she has really set herself apart.

Now I know the title is a bit misleading but I couldn’t resist.  This article in the NY times talks about how YouTube has decided it is a good idea to take on TV and with the help of Youtubers that have big, loyal followings like Ms. Day and the Green Brothers.  The article is not overly kind to the effort but they do mention that three of my favorite people (Green, Green, and Day) are standouts among the other not so successful options.

My excitement comes from the series of tweets between them that ended with these two tweets.

If this happens it just might be the cross over of the century.  I mean the type of cross over that they said don’t do Ghost Busters movie and then went ahead and did anyway by the end of the movie.

I am insanely excited about the possibility of a cross over between these two.  The article is worth a read if YouTube is an area interest as a hobby or a possible job opportunity.

~Peeta

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The Book Report: Framed

27/04/2012

Framed (Traces, book 1) by Malcolm Rose

Rating: 4/10

Luke Harding, at sixteen years old, is the youngest ever qualified Forensic Investigator. Just as he graduates school he gets his first case, a murder on campus, and all the clues point to him! GASP! Now he has just days to solve the case before he leaves.

Framed! was possibly the first ‘crime/thriller’ book I’ve read that I actually liked. It’s like CSI for youngsters. So why does it only get 4/10? I’ll tell you:

  1. It’s a very simple story and a very easy read. I can see older teens getting tired of it quickly.
  2. It needed more depth to the characters. I got just enough detail to keep me interested, but I wanted so much more!

I suppose I should give you a list of all the things I liked about it, now?

  1. There’s no fuss and it’s not complicated or confusing, which is a good thing when it comes to crime novels.
  2. The world they live in is just slightly different to our own. For example: cats and dogs exist, but they’re endangered and are only in conservation parks; most of the people (in England) are dark skinned while it’s a genetic flaw to be white; most crimes (if not all) are punishable by death; etc.
  3. I like Luke. He’s a bit of a rebel, but he’s honest. He causes trouble but he owns up to doing it.
  4. Malc. Mobile Aid to Law and Crime. A machine that follows Luke around on an almost constant basis, offering advice and unintended humour. He is the R2-D2 of the Traces universe.
  5. As simple as the story is, you still find yourself trying to figure out who the guilty party is right until the end.

I actually think I’ll pick up the rest of the series. Sometimes I just feel like pottering through a decent but extremely easy read. And I want to know what happens to the characters I just about grew attached to.

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What is Mint?

26/04/2012

Mint.com is a readily available application for smart phones. It’s a financial tracking and goal setting app. Mint is an easy and visual way to see where your money is going. Here’s the catch, you have to attach your Mint account to your Bank Account. Undoubtedly the first question to ask it “Is it safe?” The creator of the program has stated that it is as safe “all things considered.” After reading this, I just became more concerned. However, this app does not allow anyone to move money. There’s no numbers needed. Sign in, find bank, put in bank username and password, tah dah! As long as you have proper security passwords or security questions for your bank account, there should be nothing to worry about. I decided to go ahead and download this app and give it a whirl. It’s actually really helpful. It even gives you a pie chart of where your credit/debit card is being used. Food, fast food, restaurants, gas, groceries, bills etc. And as someone who never really knows how much is in my bank account, this is a Godsend. The only real downside is that you can only assign one “goal” to one account. So while I’d very likely save for a new car and a home with the same savings account, I cannot do this on the site. You have to use your checking or separate account. But you can always choose to “pick bank account later” and track it on the site rather than on your phone. Anyway, the reason I chose to write about this app today, is to give it the credit it deserves. In a world where everything is public and identity theft is a serious issue, it is easy to step away from something like this. But it is secure. It is helpful. And it will alert you if your money starts being used in unusual ways. I urge college students, potential home buyers, and even high school students working on buying that first car to download this app.

~Brittany

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Music on YouTube

25/04/2012

I can’t hold in this obsession anymore. I cannot get enough of YouTube muscians. From DaveDays to NicePeter to DeStorm to Meghan Tonjes to Luke Conard to Alex Carpenter to All Caps to Alex Day to…. ugh, there are soooo many.

I don’t remember where I first heard of Megan and Liz but it was the video above that I first heard and I was blown away to the message that they conveyed in such a beautiful song. When you combine these two talented ladies and music you get an amazing thing.  When you add to that equation that they make original music that is powerful and inspiring its a wonder they have not gone the way of Bieber.

I could gush all day about the little things that make them amazing but that would keep you from listening.  Go, listen, and never unsubscribe!

~Peeta

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Nerd Fighter Note Project 2012 #NFNP2012

24/04/2012

WHAT: A day when Nerd Fighters around the world place Nerd Fighter Notes

WHEN: May 6th 2012

WHERE: Everywhere

WHY: Because Nerds are awesome and Why the heck not

WHO: YOU

HOW:

  • (LINK)<— that tells you more information
  • (LINK),<— that is some awesome premade Nerd Fighter Notes